Snohomish High stabbing victims sue school district, hospital
The two girls stabbed at Snohomish High School on Oct. 24 filed a lawsuit in King County Superior Court on Thursday alleging that the school district and Fairfax Hospital failed to keep them safe from a student with homicidal tendencies.
Seattle Times staff reporter
The two girls stabbed at Snohomish High School last fall filed a lawsuit in King County Superior Court on Thursday alleging that the school district and Fairfax Hospital failed to keep them safe from a troubled student with homicidal tendencies.
Both plaintiffs, who were raised in Snohomish, have left Snohomish High School, the trauma making it impossible for them to return, said their attorney Sim Osborn.
April Lutz, then 14, was in the restroom at the school brushing her teeth on Oct. 24 when a 15-year-old student who had been hiding in a stall came out with a knife and stabbed her as many as 27 times.
Bekah Staudacher, also 14 and Lutz's friend, intervened and was stabbed in the arm and back, but was able to run for help.
Other students and teachers came to the rescue.
One of the wounds came within millimeters of severing the main artery to Lutz's heart, doctors said, and en route to the hospital paramedics had to restart her heart three times.
Staudacher had many stitches and was treated and released from the hospital.
The attacker was sentenced to 13 years in prison in March after she pleaded guilty to first- and second-degree assault. While waiting for trial she told a fellow inmate she wanted to find one of the wounded students and stab her again to make sure she'd die. During her sentencing the prosecutor said the girl told her mother she wanted to stab strangers and blow up a school.
The girl will be in juvenile detention until she turns 21 and then spend eight years in adult prison.
According to the complaint, the attacker had been a focus of concern for other students and teachers before the attack and was "known to be violent." Snohomish High teachers had reported being afraid of her.
Six months before the attack on Lutz, on April 11, 2011, the girl was expelled from school after she had threatened the life of another student — the boyfriend of a girl with whom she was obsessed.
The school required her to be evaluated by mental-health professionals before being readmitted to Snohomish High School. She was sent to Fairfax Hospital in Kirkland but did not participate in therapy programs there, according to the complaint, and eventually she was released to return to school without restrictions.
Nothing was done to curtail her behavior or keep the school safe for other students, the complaint alleges.
Also named in the lawsuit are the attackers' parents for allegedly failing to supervise her. The staff at Fairfax is named as well.
Officials from Fairfax and the school district would comment Thursday on the lawsuit.
Nancy Bartley: 206-464-8522 or firstname.lastname@example.org. On Twitter @BartleyNews.